Have you been watching Saturday Night Live recently and thinking that it seems a little better than we’ve grown used to in recent years? Perhaps you have thought that, since coming back for season 41 three weeks ago, SNL is a cut above the previous season. Well, if you’ve noticed something different about SNL, you’re right—there was a shake up on the writing staff and Colin Jost stepped down as co-head writer. Comedy website Splitsider was the first to notice this past weekend that Jost’s title had changed during the end credits, and Vanity Fair went back and found that, in fact, Jost’s new-old position was in effect as of the season premiere three weeks ago.
Jost was hired as a writer back in 2005 and worked his way up to the head writing gig, becoming a co-head writer in 2012 and then taking Seth Meyers’s place at the “Weekend Update” desk as a co-anchor when Meyers left in 2014. Jost quickly became the poster boy for all the various ills plaguing SNL, and while the show’s problems go back further than Jost’s tenure as head writer, you also can’t deny that it’s been noticeably better since he stepped down. Which is not to say that it’s actually become good, it’s just not as consistently terrible as it was previously.
His former co-head writers, Bryan Tucker and Rob Klein, are now in charge as a duo, and Jost will still co-anchor “Update”. He says he left the head writing gig to focus on that one segment, and with a campaign year looming, more scrutiny than ever will be on SNL and “Update” to compete with the likes of The Daily Show and Last Week Tonight. And maybe that is all there is to it, but whenever stuff like this happens at SNL (see also: Cecily Strong leaving “Weekend Update” after only one year), I can’t help but wonder how much is really the person’s idea versus how much is Lorne Michaels making it happen—Mike Meyers based Dr. Evil off of him, after all.
But any gains made in quality recently are for naught as Donald Trump is slated to host November 7th. I really wish everyone would stop pretending that the giant Cheeto with the dead possum on top is a real person and not a pile of random garbage.